Full Brian Walsh statement — “It is with deep regret that I have decided to withdraw my candidacy in the forthcoming general election in accordance with medical advice.
“I have been experiencing health problems for some time, which have resulted in hospitalisation on two occasions recently. Thankfully, I’m currently on the mend but, unfortunately, my condition is liable to relapse or worsen unless considerable changes are made to my lifestyle.
“I am aware that there has been speculation concerning my political future since my most recent hospitalisation in September. I have done everything possible to resist making this decision and had hoped to overcome my condition in order to be able to continue. But in recent days, it has become clear that I have no choice but to accede to medical advice and withdraw my candidacy in the forthcoming general election.
“The demands of my role as a public representative have had an impact on my condition that is unsustainable in the long term.
“I have struggled greatly with this decision and have done everything possible to avoid having to make it. I have been involved in politics and Fine Gael since I was ten years’ old, and I have been honoured to serve as a public representative for the past 11 years.
“It is particularly difficult in light of two recent opinion polls that suggest, as I have always believed, that we will return to government after the next election and will retain two seats in Galway West.
“While it is with great sadness that I must step back from this role, I take solace from the fact that this will enable me to spend more time with my family, which has been a scarce and precious commodity in the face of competing demands in political life.
“I wish to thank my wife, Fiona, my daughters, Lisa and Amy, my family and supporters, and the people of Galway West for their backing and their trust. It has been a great honour to represent the people of this constituency at national and local level. I am indebted to all those who voted for me throughout the years, and for the tremendous support given to me by Fine Gael members in the constituency.
“I have informed An Taoiseach Enda Kenny of my decision, and I would like to thank him for his support throughout my political career and, in particular, his understanding and support in recent days.
“In the forthcoming campaign, I intend to lend my support to my Fine Gael colleagues in Galway West, where I am confident the party will retain its two seats and return to government in the next Dáil.
“I am proud to have supported a government, whose actions – together with the sacrifices that people have made – have turned the country’s fortunes around as more and more people return to work, and our financial condition continues to improve.”